It doesn’t take much for Liz Castaneda to get excited about Carrollton. It actually doesn’t take anything at all. Castaneda is a staple on the city’s historic square, spinning yarns and talking about tall tales every chance she gets.
What brought you to Carrollton?
I was born and raised in Carrollton, Texas. I was born in 1971 and lived on Valleywood. In 1977 my family moved to Cecil Court, and that is where I was raised. The street I lived on was snuggled in between The Perry Homestead and Perry Cemetery. Every day of my life, every month, every year, every milestone, Carrollton’s rich and beautiful history stood watch over me. I have always made my way back home to Carrollton. It’s in this city where my memories were made and I am happiest. Everyone loves a great story, everyone loves a story about love, everyone loves an epic ending. Carrollton has all the above and in Carrollton our story always stars you. There is something beautiful and magic about Carrollton. If you live here for any amount of time you would see for yourself.
You’ve done a lot of digging into Carrollton’s history. What interesting things have you found?
I have found many things interesting. I found out in 1921 the location of Ten of Arts was once a Ford Garage repair shop. I found that there had been rumors of the back part of 1105 S. Broadway could have been a speakeasy type of establishment. I came across speculation that our two-story Oldfield building was once an inn, and could have been an inn of ill repute.
I love to hear the stories passed down from generation to generation of the Furneaux Cemetery. Some swore that the first resident checked in due to an Indian attack. While others claim that the cemetery’s first resident was an African- American Woman that died of a broken heart.
While searching all things Carrollton, I was lead to read about Miss. Minnie Thorp. Miss. Thorp was a teacher sometime in the mid-1910s. Her father operated the first known school bus (before there was such a thing). In bad weather Mr. Thorp would hitch his mules to a covered wagon and drive from Fyke Road to the school, picking up school children along the way.
I also loved reading about Pearl Perry and William Arthur Gravley having a courtship. Their courtship included a chaperone mule, roller skating and moonlight rides in Arthur’s buggy.
To be totally honest with you, I find anything Carrollton History very interesting. I find reading about Carrollton, Texas is like reading a warm romantic novel.
What is one odd thing or unexpected thing that you’ve found?
I found a photo of a gorgeous church with beautiful stairs, majestic columns and a basement. I had never seen this beautiful building. The photo says First Christian Church Carrollton, Texas. I later found an article in The Carrollton Chronicle in 1943 talking about the American Red Cross meeting in the basement of that building. I wish I knew more about this mysterious building. I find it very odd I had never seen photos of this church before. I find it odd I have never heard stories about this building.
How have you found so much historical info/photos?
I love my city and search everywhere I can to get to know Carrollton better. I have searched old newspapers, old publications by the Peters Colony Historical Association and anyone who has old photos. I love my treasure hunt of Carrollton’s past. I doubt I will ever stop.
What were you doing before working at Ten of Arts?
I have worked in the bridal industry for 25-plus years. I began traveling the United States and found no matter which beautiful city I was visiting, there was no place like home. I love showing off my gorgeous city to the world. I find sharing my love and passion fulfilling.
What is a typical day like for you at Ten of Arts?
There is no such thing as a typical day in Ten of Arts. My neighbors consist of Sid at Sid’s Rainbow [Fountain], feisty Melba in The Old Craft Store, sweet Clarence in The Plaza, Steve, Louise and Lea in 55 Degrees, Stan and Adam in C2 Café, Richard Fleming in The Antique Store and finally, my Shaun and Nan in The Vintage House. With these characters filling each day with love, laughter and excitement, how could any day resemble “typical”?
I share each day in Ten of Arts with Lynne Hosid, Pat Malone and my daughter Evelyn. I honestly feel like I am the richest person in Carrollton. I get to wake up each morning in my Marchant home and make new memories with the most incredible people of Carrollton.